Silene spaldingii

Common Names:
Spalding's campion, Spalding's catchfly, Spalding's silene
S. Wats.
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Wendy Gibble
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
University Of Washington Botanic Gardens

The conservation of Silene spaldingii is fully sponsored.
Wendy Gibble contributed to this Plant Profile.


Spaldings catchfly (Silene spaldingii) is an herbaceous perennial of the intermountain grasslands and sagebrush-steppe of the Pacific Northwest. It is named after Henry Spalding, who first collected it in the mid 1800s near the Clearwater River of Idaho. Like many of its close relatives in the Pink Family, it earns its common name catchfly because all green portions of the plants are covered in dense sticky hairs that ensnare insects and dust. Unfortunately for this catchfly, the deep loamy soils typical of its preferred habitat were also preferred by white settlers for farming, and most of its habitat has been converted for agricultural use and, more recently, for urban development. On October 10, 2001, Spaldings catchfly was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Spaldings catchfly blooms from mid-July through September an interesting phenomenon when one considers that this is the driest, hottest period of the year when water stress is highest. Another interesting habit of this species is that it can enter prolonged periods of dormancy in which individuals can remain entirely belowground for up to several years (Lesica and Steele 1994; Lesica 1997). Dormancy is thought to be correlated to periods of drought; however, this phenomenon is not well understood and more research is needed to understand what is involved in initiating and breaking dormancy (USFWS 2007).

Stems of Spaldings catchfly range in height from 8 to 24 inches and typically bear three to 20 flowers. Each plant typically has one stem growing from a persistent caudex (a thickened base of the stem located just belowground from which new stems arise), although multiple stems may sometimes occur. The cream-colored flowers are not very showy because most of the petal is enclosed within the calyx a green tube formed by the sepals. Each fertilized flower produces a capsule with up to 150 seeds.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research